Monday, July 20, 2009

Frugal Tacos

I love to make my own spice and seasoning blends, and I love to find ways to use up miscellaneous refrigerator items or leftovers. Tacos are great in both departments. Whenever I buy or harvest heads of romaine, I cut off the bottom quarter or so (the crispier, core part) that I don’t want in my salad, wrap it, and save it until I have three or four. They might brown a bit, but they don’t spoil nearly as fast as the more leafy greens. When sliced thinly, it’s the perfect slightly crunchy addition to a taco without resorting to iceberg or some other nutritionally bereft lettuce.

Then I just use a tablespoon or two of my own taco seasoning blend on some ground turkey, use up some overripe or bruised tomatoes (cutting out the bad spots, of course), grate a little cheddar, and add a dollop of sour cream or cottage cheese.

Here’s my recipe for a mild taco seasoning in bulk. It tastes great, is very cheap, and has no added chemicals or MSG. It makes a little over 1/2 cup. I store my spice blends in small 4 oz Gerber Baby juice bottles or food jars (someone kindly collected and donated them to me through Freecycle; I love that site!) You can add cayenne or more crushed red pepper to taste if you like it spicier. All the various spices make such a pretty presentation in the bowl, at least until stirred!

1/4 cup chili powder
2 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp coarse sea salt
1 Tbsp black pepper
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried oregano

In small bowl, mix all ingredients. Refrigerate in airtight container up to 6 months.


  1. I'm going to try your recipe the next time we have tacos. I threw together my own mixture last time I made them, but I neglected to write down my concoction - yours sounds/looks appetizing! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I hope you like it Melinda! You can easily reduce it by quarters or eighths to try one or two servings. Or use a little cornstarch in the mix if you want to add water while cooking the meat to make some thick sauce, like the store bought taco seasoning mix calls for.

  3. Thanks for the recipe, it looks good.